EU Seeks Expanded Role with IASB, U.S. Accounting Rules

The European Union wants to play a bigger part in setting international accounting standards and indicated its desire to cooperate with U.S. accounting rule makers, Reuters reported.

Charles McCreevy, the European Commissioner who oversees internal market and services, told Reuters at a conference that he hopes the increased involvement and cooperation will lead to a uniform accounting code.

McCreevy is currently visiting the U.S. and met Tuesday with Paul Volcker, head of the trustees of the International Accounting Standards Board, to discuss an expanded role for the EU.

Speaking to a Reuters reporter at the conference Wednesday, McCreevy described the talks as positive. "We are looking at the constitution (of the IASB). Hopefully we can make progress."

Earlier this year, Volcker said the EU's request for greater representation on the IASB and more say in setting international accounting standards was inappropriate, saying the rules should be free of "national, political or sectoral interests," Reuters reported.

McCreevy reiterated his support of corporate governance reforms and is hoping to address some of the regulatory constraints in Europe, Reuters reported.

"I want us to take a joint fresh look at accounting, insurance, banking, securities regulation, corporate governance and corporate law," he told the conference.

In a paper to be released next month, McCreevy outlines his plans for the next five years, with enhancing regulatory dialog with the U.S. a chief priority after the "transatlantic friction" created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed to clean up corporate governance, Reuters reported.

While in the U.S., McCreevy plans to meet with senior officials of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to discuss issues surrounding accounting requirements for U.S.-listed European companies, Reuters reported.

"I am looking forward to discussing accounting convergence, then equivalence and hence removing the reconciliation requirements. Progressing this would be a great signal to markets in the EU and the U.S. alike that transatlantic progress is under way," he told Reuters.

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